The government of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio da Silva (Lula) "must act swiftly to fulfil the President's public commitment to adopt specific measures to fight corruption," said Cláudio Weber Abramo, Transparencia Brasil General Secretary and a member of the Board of Transparency International (TI). TI is the leading international non-governmental organisation devoted to fighting corruption worldwide.
On 25 September 2002, President Lula, then the Workers' Party presidential candidate, signed an Anti-Corruption Pledge prepared by Transparencia Brasil, the national chapter of Transparency International (TI), just ahead of the first round ballot of the presidential election on 6 October 2002. Lula was the first candidate to sign the pledge. This year's TI Corruption Perceptions Index, published on 7 October 2003, demonstrates that corruption remains dangerously high in Brazil, with a score of 3.9 out of 10 where 0 indicates that a country is perceived to be totally corrupt and 10 indicates that it is perceived to be free of corruption.
"A historic commitment was made by the President and we are encouraged by his initial determination to fight corruption. The time has come to seize a historic opportunity to turn the tide against corruption in Brazil," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International. "Transparency International and Transparencia Brasil are ideally placed to assist in this historic endeavour."
In September last year, Transparencia Brasil welcomed as an "important landmark" Lula's decision, as the first candidate in Brazilian history, to adopt in his election programme a series of concrete measures to combat corruption. Today, close to the end of President Lula's first 12 months in office, Cláudio Weber Abramo called upon the Brazilian government "to adopt the measures to which the President made a public commitment, to implement a national strategy to fight corruption, and to take decisive action to attack the systemic roots of corruption". Abramo continued: "Transparencia Brasil is ready and willing to help the government to draw up and implement this strategy."
In the pledge President Lula signed last year, TBrasil set out eight measures considered fundamental to curb corruption, in particular to redress the problem of inadequate control mechanisms in the state and society. The most important measure was the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Agency. The Agency would draw up an anti-corruption plan within six months with the participation of the Legislature, the Judiciary, the Public Prosecutor's office, the Supreme Audit Court and, as observers, civil society organisations. After this period, the Agency would orchestrate the implementation of the plan.
The pledge also included initiatives concerning public procurement, the establishment of a network of Ombudsmen in the federal government, the prohibition of hiring relatives by public officials, the strengthening of investigative organs, the implementation of international anti-corruption conventions (OECD and OAS) ratified by Brazil, and the consolidation of pre-existing initiatives in the areas of corruption control and conflict-of-interest resolution.